So I’m walking through a bookstore in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico and I’m reading blurbs. I’m not going to blast any artists. That’s not what I’m about. We all come from a different set of experiences. But why are mainstream book publisher publishing the same narrative over and over and over and over? These blurbs seeming lay out different storylines, but when you look at the macro’s macro you start to see a pattern.
Champions endure the hardest hits–psychological and emotional–and carry themselves forward with the idealism needed to see through the most barren desert landscapes. We’re charged with getting an education and then returning home to make things better. We’re up for the challenge. But we can’t be surprised when we get hit on both sides of the drum.
I was in grad school when a professor asked, “What metaphor would you use to describe how power structures stay intact?” We were studying Faucoult and had come to his explanation of how individuals give up their power to others, with his example of a moving ship and how everyone does their part to keep the ship moving forward and are in fear of what would happen if the ship stopped moving. I agree with Faucoult’s analogy. It makes sense in most situations. In a modern context though, I’m thinking more along the lines of interstates.
We love the sound of our own voices, and there’s a condition associated with narcissism that calms people when they look at pictures of themselves (if you’ve ever wondered why we take so many selfies). The same goes for values. We like to hear our own values echoed back to us. If we took a real look at our circle of friends we’d find people who have the same value system. Yeah, there might be some differences in opinion, but no deal breakers. Just echoes of eternal conformity.
It’s about to get real nerdy in here. Turn around and walk away. Don’t read any further. If you pass beyond this point of warning then all consequences will be your own and you will be held accountable. So… Do the right thing. Just stop reading now.
Sometimes I wonder about the critical thinking skills of our era. We are taught in school rote behavior. Regurgitate, bell rings, regurgitate, bell rings, regurgitate, bell rings. In that form of habitualization, we stop thinking for ourselves. You become even more aware of this tactic after you read “Social Class and School Knowledge” by Jean Anyon. Having had dropped out of school after the sixth grade I wonder how that impacted my ability to think critically about the world around me and its role in my nonconformity. I’m comfortable on the periphery. From this vantage point I find it odd how quickly our society went from hipster beards to tiki torches.
I’ve been revising chapter five in my novel for about two months now. On the second draft and I was moving along quite nicely until I hit chapter five. There was something about the chapter that wasn’t gelling. The previous four ran smooth and there was a dynamic quality that forced the chapters to more or less revise themselves. The plot and the character development coincided well with each other. Then chapter five hit me like owl shit hitting a windshield.
If you’ve ever watched a documentary on sharks then you’re familiar with the feeding frenzy. This is when a school of sharks start to feed on prey. It can be an attack on a single victim or a school of other fish, but once the feeding begins the energy multiplies over and over as the sharks feed. Soon the sharks are feeding in such a panic it’s as though they can’t stop themselves. Now I’m about to compare this activity to the way negative types make friends.
Do you think you watch the behavior of dark skinned males more closely than other people? Maybe you feel you don’t. Then you have to watch this video:
You were plugging away on the keyboard, doing your thing, writing your stories, singing the songs you want to sing, and then out of nowhere you get attacked by some overly competitive asshole. If you’re not competitive, then why would someone go out of their way to compete against you?
You don’t like to think of yourself as a Girardian cliché. Neither do I. But we like to oversimplify. Living life on the spectrum takes tremendous amounts of consideration (aka compassion) and tremendous amounts of time (aka love). But we live on a spectrum. Nothing is black and white. Not even when it comes to identity politics and exploitation of Native peoples.
When I think about creativity, or the impulses to create, and how there is a certain bravery or cowardice involved, I think of forest fires. You see, my cousins were fire fighters for the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma. I love it when they regale me with stories of their adventures and sometimes these are about disaster relief, like following Hurricane Katrina, and other times they are about fighting large forest fires in Colorado or California. They tell me, “If the wind catches the flames and rushes the fire toward you, you have to decide: are you going to run through the flames?”